Now I don’t claim to be an expert but I do love a day out and since childhood I have certainly had my fair share of them.
With the Easter holidays in full swing and some good weather imminent I thought it was the perfect time for a list of our highlights. I have included some free days out and some that are not so free. Please note I have not been paid for this post, it is purely showcase some great family fun.
- Warwick castle
This Merlin site holds a place in my heart, I have very fond memories with my family here. Unlike many castles, this is still in excellent condition and is in keeping for the period. Most of the Castle is accessible to the public, but there are a number of stairs so not accessible to all.
The grounds are beautiful and there is always something going on to entertain, lots of re-enactments, bird of prey displays and people dressed up to add to the experience.
It is not a cheap day out but keep an eye out for offers, there is always some available. Here is the website for a full list of upcoming events and visitor information
2. St Nicholas’ Park
This ties in perfectly with Warwick castle as it is the perfect place to park to access the castle. But it is a great day out on its own, and cheaper!
The park runs alongside the river which offers a beautiful back drop. It has plenty to keep all ages entertained. A well equipped play area, an outdoor paddling pool, cafe, tennis courts, mini golf and a small fair.
Parking is reasonable as is the cafe, although the beautiful town of Warwick is just a short walk away if you wanted more choice for food. The fair is the pricey bit but it still offers good value and finishes off a great day out.
3. Draycote Waters
This Severn Trent reservoir has so much to offer. A beautiful 5 mile walk that takes you all the way around the reservoir that is suitable for running, cycling or walking if you’re anything like me!
A play area that is unlike any I have seen before or since in fact. It is fun for children of all ages and abilities. There is plenty of open space for picnic’s, tree climbing and football in our case!
It has an onsite cafe which is really good, I have heard many good things about their afternoon tea. The site is open all year round but opening and closing varies according to the time of the year. Parking is £4 all day but £3 for 2 hours. It’s certainly a cheap day out if you plan on being there for most of the day.
The only negative is the midgies that are like nothing I have ever seen before. Mainly around the water, but you have been warned!
4. Kenilworth Castle
Now if you have read my blog at all you’ll know that we are big fans of Kenilworth Castle. It offers a real glimpse in to the history of this country. But you can see more about my views Here
Parking is reasonable for the day at £2, there is a cafe onsite and plenty of walks to explore. A short walk away is Abbey Fields which has 2 great play areas and a place to feed the ducks and the fish! It is such a good park that it almost made the list on its own merit!
5. Coombe Abbey
This beautiful country park sits just outside Coventry. Parking is on the pricey side but if you know you will be spending most of the day there, £7 for 4 to 24 hours is a bargain for a day out.
There are a couple of play areas, one of which is fairly new and offers something for the older and slightly more adventurous child. There is plenty of open space to explore and paths to walk, ducks to feed and woods to explore. We normally end up building dens when we are there which F in particular loves.
You could definitely spend a whole day here if you’ve packed a picnic – which I recommend as I’ll be honest and say the Cafe is not up to much. But there is always an ice cream van to be found!
6. Twycross Zoo
You’ve had some cheap options so time for something a little less cheap.
I have been going to Twycross since I was really little, It felt like a really big deal making the journey to the zoo when I was little. I was really disappointed to discover that it is actually about 20 minutes from home.
Twycross is well known for its collection of anything Ape! They have done some serious work to the zoo over the last few years and it really pays off.
It is a great day out with plenty to see and do. It has several places for food, lots of picnic areas and the new soft play area (Chargeable) is fantastic. See the website for more details https://twycrosszoo.org/
7. War Memorial Park
This park sits just outside the city centre of Coventry. And if you’re clever about it you can avoid the dreaded ring road which is always a bonus.
Its a great open space for walking, cycling and running (Why??) and has a great adventure playground for the children. What I love about this park is the wet play area. The perfect way to spend a hot summers day is watching the children in the splash park. Rather than a pool though it is a fountain style one. It does get busy but it is well managed by staff who allow a certain number in before swapping round to let the next group of patiently waiting children in.
There is something so lovely about watching children squeal with delight when a fountain goes off in front of them.
There is a small car park but there are plenty of smaller sites for parking further round the park which means you have an opportunity to see more of the park.
8. Brandon Marsh
Again this is just outside of Coventry in Brandon. I only discovered this a year ago but it fast became a favourite.
It offers lots of lovely walks with some spectacular views, and an essential for any park visit is a good tree to climb and it has plenty of those to keep the adventurous child happy.
It has a great muddy play area for the children and an area where the children can find some creatures in the water. F had literally hours of fun scooping out pond skaters and an array of other creepy crawlies.
It is chargeable but it is just a few pounds and well worth it. Here is the website for more information http://www.brandonbirding.co.uk/
9. Think Tank
This science museum is just outside the centre of Birmingham, and although not the cheapest of days out it really offers great value for money.
It has of course lots of interactive science from Robots to recycling and even the chance to play detective and solve a crime which is so cool!
Although I think the winning element of this attraction is imagination street. It is a children’s play area set up like a town. You can play Doctor, Dentist, cafe owner and explore a street and all it has to offer. There is a water play area where you can sail boats, create dams and explore measuring and volume. They even provide waterproof aprons (THANK YOU!!!!)
But it is what hides outside that really makes this place special, The science garden. This interactive hands on play area is like nothing I have ever seen before. We normally have to drag F away after a few hours. It is so peaceful and the sun always seems to be shining when we visit so it really is no hardship to sit out and watch with fascination as children, completely unknown to each other, will work together to figure out all that the garden has to offer. Firm fleeting friendships made while learning. Seems like a total win to me.
Now the best bit, is anyone can visit the science garden after 3pm for FREE!! What a perfect way to finish off the school day with some extra, hands on learning.
You can find out more here
10. Ryton Pools
Ryton Pools is located near Coventry. It has some lovely walking routes, a place to feed the ducks and a great adventure play area with one of the longest slides I have ever seen.
Again the only cost here is parking and it would be easy to spend a day exploring. There is an onsite cafe which is quite expensive so i’d recommend taking a picnic instead.
They hire out bikes of various styles but if you have the ability to take your own I’d recommend doing that. It offers plenty of routes for cycling.
And if your children are anything like mine, tree climbing and den building are essential to a day out and this place has it in abundance.
On Sundays they have a miniature railway which is payable separately but well worth it for all those little train fans.
Find out more on the website http://countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk/country-parks/ryton-pools-country-park/
Where do you recommend in the Midlands or further afield? What makes a great day out to you?